Here are fascinating facts about the Metropolitan Museum of Art, commonly known as The Met, that may make you view the iconic New York City institution in a new light.
Wasn’t always enormous.
When The Met opened in 1870, it was located in a much smaller building at 681 Fifth Avenue, which housed a Roman stone sarcophagus and 174 European paintings. The museum quickly outgrew this space, and it was moved to the Douglas Mansion on West 14th Street. The permanent location was completed in 1879, and over the years, various additions were attached to the building. Today, the original structure is surrounded by more modern wings, but you can catch a glimpse of its original west facade in the museum’s Robert Lehman Wing.
Retired its iconic metal buttons in 2013
Before 2013, visitors to The Met were given a metal button as proof of admission. However, due to soaring metal prices, the museum retired the button in favor of a sticker.
Has a residential floral artist
Remco van Vliet, a Dutch florist, creates five towering bouquets each week for the museum’s Great Hall. His arrangements can stretch up to 12 feet high, and those he creates for events held in the museum’s sky-high Egyptian wing can reach up to 20 feet.
Is full of familiar paintings and sculptures.
The Met’s collection contains more than two million works, including iconic paintings and sculptures such as Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s Washington Crossing Delaware, The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer by Edgar Degas, Jackson Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), and Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses.
Home to the world’s oldest surviving piano
The museum boasts a collection of roughly 5000 instruments, among which is the oldest known piano still in existence. The historic instrument, crafted by Bartolomeo Cristofori in 1720, is a significant attraction for music lovers.
There’s plenty of armor and weaponry within The Met’s walls.
The Met’s Arms and Armor Department contains impressive examples of battle gear, including Henry VIII’s armor, likely worn by the king during his last military campaign in 1544.
You can read: The MET famous paintings
A mecca for fashionistas.
The Costume Institute of the museum has a collection of over 33,000 clothing items and accessories, which are historically, culturally, and contemporarily significant. These articles come from five continents and span seven centuries.
You have the opportunity to embark on a global journey, experiencing cultures and histories from around the world.
Visitors can temporarily leave New York City by standing in an ancient Egyptian temple, relaxing in a Chinese Garden Court, strolling around a 16th-century Spanish castle’s patio, visiting a villa bedroom that was swallowed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, and admiring a room like those found in the late Ottoman period in Damascus, Syria.
You have the opportunity to step back in time to the Middle Ages
The Cloisters, a branch of The Met located in northern Manhattan, houses medieval art, architecture, and artifacts. Constructed as a composite structure integrating architectural features from medieval cloisters and various European locations, the Cloisters tower above the Hudson River, nestled within the verdant surroundings of Fort Tryon Park.
Has been featured in children’s books.
E. L. Konigsburg’s cherished children’s literature classic, “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” narrates the fascinating tale of two children who flee their home to secretly live within The Met, embarking on a series of misadventures.